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07-01-2002 @ 11:10 p.m.
Las Vegas in a Nutshell

I can't believe it's July already. Where the hell did May go?

Today, I recuperated from our mini-vacation. I was so tired after getting only 6 hours of sleep Saturday night that I was just wiped out today. It was a low-key day spent in large part chatting with Joey about nothing in particular. She obviously missed telling stories, one of her favorite activities, so she spent a lot of time rehashing cartoon plots and sharing little gems from school and the weekend at the Griffins. She reveled in telling how Taylor got grounded for arguing with his brother. She's never seen his mother get so angry or Taylor act so naughty. It was rather amusing. I certainly enjoyed the cuddling. I can't believe how much I missed her!

So, the highlights of our trip. Friday, we started out by hanging at the pool for a couple of hours in the morning. That's where I got my first 10 minutes of sun on my formerly lily-white shoulders. After the pool, we got dressed and headed out to the strip. We went to the Paris hotel to have lunch (absolutely incredible crepes at the Creperie) and then to the Al@ddin to do some shopping (Marcus forgot to bring long pants). Then we got back in our car and went to the Liberace museum. Don't laugh--it was lots of fun. We saw all his cars (and he had several) and all his pianos (some were over 200 years old and had been played by Brahms and some other biggies) but the most fun was seeing his costumes and jewelry. Oh. My. Gosh. He was so over the top--it was incredible. I mean, I remember his flamboyant outfits from my childhood when we'd watch his shows on TV but seeing the costumes up close and personal--unbelievable.

That night we ate dinner at Emer!l's Fishh0use at the MGM. It was easily one of the best meals of my life. I had a caprese-style salad that was to-die-for followed by crab cakes the likes of which I'm sure I'll never taste again. We all had tastes of everyone's stuff and everything was delicious. It will have to be on the agenda of all future trips to Las Vegas. Oh, and the service was amazing. When your food is ready, 3 or 4 servers appear and place all the food down at once. My water never fell more than a centimeter below the lip of my glass and my Diet Coke was refilled automatically as well. We felt so pampered. Truly an incredible experience.

And what better way to follow an incredible meal than by an incredible show. We made our way over to the Lux0r (after walking by C@rrot Top loading his things into a back door at the MGM--we said hi to him and he talked to us for a sec. What a strange experience!) and saw The Blue M@n group. There is really no way to describe this show if you've never seen them. It was really great, though--entertaining, interesting, hilarious, loud and just downright fun.

When the show was over, we played some craps and roulette before heading over to the Exc@libur for a hot Krispy Kr3m3 donut to top off our evening and then sort of wandered around until we were tired. We got to our hotel around midnight but we didn't get to sleep for another few hours. ::wicked grin::

Saturday, we started off at the pool again where I got 5 minutes on my shoulders, which was enoughto leave me very burned. Since it was Marcus's birthday, we went off in search of sushi because that's what he wanted for his birthday lunch. Thanks to the concierge at Bell@gio, we found a great little hole-in-the-wall place called the Sushi F@ctory, way off-strip, where we ate some really great baked sushi rolls. MMmmm...they were so tasty!

Then we went to wander around the Veneti@n. That's an extraordinarily beautiful place--inside and out. We went to the art museum there (the highlight of the trip for Stacey) and then wandered around the canal shops for awhile. I bought a huge $5 chocolate-dipped strawberry at Godiv@ and it was yet another incredible taste treat. I tell you--we really had some wonderful food there.

When we finished there, we went over to Bell@gio to catch the 6pm show of Jimmy H0pper and his band. He was great! He has a website if you're interested (hisname.com) and planning a trip to Vegas. He has a great voice and his backup musicians are quite talented. His guitarist is from Aerosmith and his violinist played with Kansas. He did covers for Bruce Hornsby, Moody Blues, Five for Fighting, Alanis Morissette (the best version of Uninvited I've ever heard!), Journey, Neil Diamond, Avril Levine, Peter Gabriel, and lots more I can't think of. He came out after his show and visited with people and I took a picture of him with Stacey. We liked his show so much we stayed for the 8pm show, too.

By 9:30 when it was over, we were starved so we went to the gourmet buffet. It was pricey, but oh-so-tasty: king crab legs, rack of lamb, Kobe beef, prime rib, cranberry-soaked venison, shrimp, salmon, smoked sturgeon, gumbo, soups, many other fish, salads, fruit (great strawberries!), and so many incredible desserts I couldn't begin to count them. And all of it was well-prepared and delicious. The Kobe beef was so tender it almost melted in my mouth. I'd heard it was tender that way but still it surprised me.

We went outside and watched two of the fountain shows outside. Bell@gio has the best free entertainment between Jimmy H0pper and those fountains. Wow! It's my favorite place to just hang out in all of Las Vegas. We walked through Caesar's P@lace then back to the Veneti@n where our car was parked. It was about a mile--enough to work off our delicous dinner, I think. Then we drove downtown and played some blackjack at Bini0n's where Ed won $55. He won $20 the night before--he was the big winner in our group. I lost about $25 total in my gambling but Ed balanced me out so we ended up $30 ahead on that. I loved playing blackjack but it was getting late and Marcus and Stacey were fading so we headed back around 2:30.

Next morning, we stopped at the M&Ms store to pick up some souvenirs (they have 21 colors of M&Ms there--grey, black, several shades of blue and purple and teal and pink and orange--really fun) and then flew home.

All in all, it was a fabulous trip. I wish it could have been one day longer--there were still a few things we wanted to do but couldn't but that's ok. We'll save them for our next trip. We've decided to make this an even-year trip from now on, since this is our second trip together out there. We have such a great time there. We're not huge gamblers--probably spent less than 2 hours the whole weekend gambling--but the spectacle of Las Vegas and the food and the entertainment are well worth the trip.

Night!

--L

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